Health care: What to expect

The deadline to enroll for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was Mar. 31.

The Obama administration has announced that enrollment reached six million sign-ups, and that there is an extension for those who started on their applications before the March 31 deadline.

But what does that mean for students? The ACA is intended to provide healthcare coverage for all citizens, and plans are available for people according to specific needs.

“Prior to enrolling, I had no health insurance,” stated undergraduate Claudia Saladaña. “If I was in an accident or if my appendix burst, then I would have had no way of financing myself for any emergencies like those.”

According to, there are three categories that citizens qualify for: private insurance plans, a low-cost plan based on income and household size – and Medicaid.

The private insurance plan covers essential health benefits such as emergency services, maternity care, mental health services and lab services. The low-cost plan previews local insurance options with prices based on income and individuals per household.

Medicaid will continue to cover families with limited income — for example, a family of four with an annual income of $24,000 would be eligible for Medicare and is automatically covered by the ACA.

The ACA expands Medicaid benefits to be accessible from a private insurance plan. However, Texas has chosen not to expand Medicaid coverage.

Most plans include free preventative services, such as vaccines, HIV screenings, depression screenings and more.

UTSA also offers student health insurance plans through the Health Services website, which are covered by the ACA. “Our services can help provide an affordable way to access healthcare and access to our health clinics,” stated Assistant Director of Health Promotion and Marketing, Barbara Reyes.

According to the Health Services website, all University of Texas Health Science Center Students are automatically enrolled in the Student Health Insurance plan. All other UT- System students can apply online. The UTSA insurance plan has no co-payment for university clinics and a small fee for off campus clinics.

Some students believe that UTSA insurance is difficult to navigate and expensive. “I really did not look into UTSA’s health insurance and I felt the fees for the school insurance would increase my loans,” stated Saladana.

Graduate engineering student Rafael Zamarripa stated that he was on his parents’ insurance plan but thought that enrolling for healthcare through the government site was important. “To me, having health insurance gives me a peace of mind. I don’t have to worry about being hurt and having to pay for help,” said Zamarripa.

Both students, however, thought navigating the website was a nightmare. “If I set out an entire day for registering for this, I think I would have been extremely frustrated. You definitely need to take your time and be patient with it,” said Saladana.

Zamarripa agreed, “Yeah, it can be confusing and frustrating. But others should sign up for healthcare insurance because it’s something we all need.”

For more information about the plans offered by the government and how to enroll, visit their website at For information on UTSA’s Student Health Insurance Plan, visit and search for UTSA.